It's 2010 folks.
Isn't that a strange number when you see it looking out at you like that. It looks like the sort of year you would expect to be a Jetsons year - aka flying cars and saucers even.
More importantly, a year where gadgets prevailed, leaving many many hours to play happy joyful families without household conflict, knowing that the cooking, cleaning, shopping, light switching, clutter decluttering, fridge filling, billpaying, etc was all being miraculously taken care of by some happy joyful robot somewhere. And with hair piled high you could carry on balancing that happy joyful family with all the happy joyful interests you could dream of. I truly pictured this would happen one day. I may have been 7 at the time but those smiley Jetsons set me up for future feelings of failure.
Yes, there are many new gadgets. Some help undoubtedly - the washing machine will indeed wash clothes, but truth is I still have to fold them, all 73 pieces per day (this may not be the case in other families - you listening Rory?), and some don't seem to help at all - the internet, which sadly gives me joy also gives me absolute time wastage in almost equal parts.
I'm not whining about gadgets. I love them. What I'm really whining about is the fact that despite them, and partly due to them, life doesn't seem to have gotten easier.
Infact, I feel for the most part that I'm running on empty. I feel, for the most part, that I can only give 30-70% to anything at any one time. With more choices, more guilt, more gadgets, more social responsibilty, more helicopter parenting, more friends, more work, more interests, more access to technology, more memberships, more travelling partners etc, my head feels like it's going to explode and there is never enough of me to go around.
Hell, I can't even relax properly. I try hard, but living life in 2010 is a bigger beast than I have managed to comfortably chew on each day.
Is it me? Quite possibly. I seem to have come from the 'not happy unless I'm doing a double shift' mould. I do try and keep it in check but, frankly, life around these here blocks seems to beat to its own hectic drum regardless.
The parenting gig is one that I undoubtedly invest the most energy, juice and time into - without regret. I love kids and I especially love mine. If I could give even more, I would.
But life didn't start when I popped them out. Before they came along I was very happily doing, and enjoying 300 other interests. Having kids didn't change that. Having kids just took an 80% slice out of me, and shifted my perspective somewhat. Those other interests remained, hovering in the background, crowding out whatever white space there may have been there previously.
And that is where all the mental conflict starts. Your story may be slightly different, but 'same same' different no doubt.
I work. Passionately, even managing to think about it all of the time whilst only being paid for it a tiny percentage of the time.
I write. This actually translates to I often love to think about what I could be writing.
I am a partner. The 7 day challenge validated that there is plenty to be gotten from giving, but giving takes energy and my energy bank runs low. Always.
I am a friend. One where I am often cut a lot of slack. Thank God.
What else crowds that white space? Probably a lot like you, I am a person with a gym membership, a lover of sleep, a person who loves to retreat, a wonna be cooker extraordinaire, blogger, twitterer, people lover, wonna be student, lover of good causes, someone with a unibrow that needs to be waxed (ok, maybe that's just me) and hair that needs to be coloured far too frequently, lover of books and all things news, and still much much more. None of this, and plenty more important stuff rarely gets much of a look in (except for, ahem, twitter and that's another post). The 'me' bit, from the brain to the unibrow and back down to my fingers, all of that gets pushed to the back of the line. But truly, it is everything that is pushed and shoved and nudged around just to try and make it fit in.
I know I'm not alone.
Infact, I need to know I'm not alone. Where do you sit? Have you mastered your own universe? Do you have family to help with the load (we don't)?
Or, like me, do you have a sliding scale of where you give and at the bottom of that scale is you. And scattered throughout is conflict.
Yep, please tell me - I'm not alone.